Secondary Maths – Topic Special: Solving Linear Equations
Collection Author: Craig Barton - Maths AST and creator of www.mrbartonmaths.com (TES Name: mrbartonmaths)
Teaching students how to solve linear equations is quite a controversial matter. Some teachers will go down the “change side, change sign” route (I am almost whining when typing that phrase!), whilst others will opt for some variant of a flow diagram. I certainly see merit in the latter method (the less said about the former, the better), and indeed it is perhaps the best way to introduce younger or weaker students to the concept of inverses and reverse operations. However, as soon as unknowns start appearing on both sides of the equals sign, trouble begins. Wherever possible, I like to go for a balancing approach to solving equations. I believe it is mathematically sound, and once the process and principals are learnt, then they can be applied to any equation, from the most basic of linear ones, right up to the disguised quadratics that reside in A Level Maths papers.
Fortunately, it seems that Tim Buckton shares my view on the matter, and has kindly put together an outstanding bundle of resource for teaching linear equations from scratch. There are levelled/graded worksheets, loop cards, discussion activities, flipchart activities (requires Active Studio to be installed) and amazing interactive Excel resources. All in all it is an essential package to help you plan out how you are going to teaching one of the most important topics in mathematics.
- An amazing Excel resource which generates random questions, with a level of difficulty which you choose, and emphasises the importance of doing them same operation to both sides of the equation. There is also a video accompanying the resource from Tim himself, explaining how he uses it in the classroom.
- An interactive Excel resource for teaching solving equations using the balance method
- An interesting approach to introducing solving equations to students by using an Eggs in a Basket analogy
- A classic way to introduce students to the key principles of forming and solving equations
- Resources to facilitate a number line approach to solving equations
- A set of interactive flipcharts where students can drag the correct operation to both sides of the equation
- Flipchart activities on solving equations by the method of matching
- Level 4 and 5 questions ready prepared for use on the interactive whiteboard
- A discussion activity to find out what aspects of solving equations students find difficult
- Level 5 and Level 6 card activities to engage students and test their levels of understanding
- Level 5 loop cards for use on the Interactive Whiteboard
- In context style questions for when students have got to grips with the basic skills
- Graded and levelled worksheets to allow students to practice the basics of solving linear equations
- Level 5 and 6 Assessment for Learning activities on solving equations, including a nice homework
- In context problems to test whether students can apply the skills of solving equations
- A fun game of Battleships to test students understanding
- A classic 4 in a row game for use on the interactive whiteboard